PM Narendra Modi heads meeting with chief ministers on Planning Commission rehaul; Mamata Banerjee, Omar Abdullah give it a miss

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is presiding over a meeting with all the state chiefs in New Delhi to discuss various aspects relating to restructuring of the Planning Commission.

PM Narendra Modi heads meeting with chief ministers on Planning Commission rehaul; Mamata Banerjee, Omar Abdullah give it a miss

During the meeting, the Prime Minister will seek their views regarding the structure, scope and role of the new body that will replace the Planning Commission.

Plans are afoot for reshaping of the Planning Commission to make it in sync with the changing times, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said ahead of his meeting with all chief ministers on Sunday on the issue.

Making a brief intervention during Question Hour in Lok Sabha, the Prime Minister had said government was planning to involve knowledgeable people and those who can provide new ideas to redefine and restructure the Planning Commission. “I have convened a meeting of Chief Ministers on December 7. We will have a detailed discussions with them. In the Planning Commission also there had been discussions earlier on how to bring it in tune with the changing times. Taking all these aspects into consideration, plans are afoot towards a new shape (of the plan panel),” he said.

However, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Bannerjee will be giving it a miss, owing to TMC and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s continued conflict over the Burdhwan blast and Saradha chit fund scam. West Bengal Finance minister Amit Mitra will be attending the meeting on her behalf.

The BJP had however, not taken kindly to this action by the TMC chief.

They criticized West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee for not turning up at chief minister’s meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as ‘irresponsible behaviour’.

The party added that no prior engagements of her’s can surpass the importance about the priority of India.

“It is highly irresponsible behaviour of the Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee, when she says that she did not want to come for the meetings of chief ministers tomorrow to be held in Delhi. She says that she has certain engagements which were decided previously,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra told ANI here. “Miss Mamataji no other engagement has more importance than the priority of India. You can hold every other engagement to the second tier, but you cannot hold India’s priority on the second tier. So you should come and attend the meeting,” he said.

Patra further criticised TMC saying that a politician cannot shrug off an all important meeting citing Sunday or for that matter any other day. “Secondly, her party says that because it’s a Sunday Mamata Banerjee would not be able to come for the meeting. There are no Sundays, Mondays, and weekends for politicians,” he said

According to reports, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah will be skipping the meeting owing to the assembly elections in the state.

Opposition to target Centre over ‘haste’ in disbanding Planning Commission

“Our party will oppose the manner in which the decision to dismantle the Planning Commission was taken,” JD(U) Chief Sharad Yadav told PTI. The party’s government in Bihar is functioning with the support of Congress and RJD. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called a meeting of Chief Ministers here tomorrow to give a new shape to the Soviet-era Planning Commission.

Samajwadi Party, which is ruling key Hindi state Uttar Pradesh has decided that while it will not oppose the restructuring, it will voice its disapproval of the “haste in disbanding” the plan panel. “Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is likely to caution against adopting the approach followed by Planning Commission of ‘one size fits all’. “The UP government is also likely to flag the issue of bureaucratic clutter when funds are sanctioned for states,” a top UP official said.

Voices of dissent will also be there from Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress. Finance Minister Amit Mitra will represent West Bengal as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee won’t attend the meeting. Congress’ Chief Minister from Kerala Oommen Chandy today said the existing body was well accepted and any new setup should be more effective in further strengthening the Centre-state relations. Chandy hoped that the Centre would move ahead with its plan only after reaching a consensus on the issue with the states.

With agency inputs